Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My Team Canada

Everybody else is doing it, so I thought I might as well join in. With Team Canada slated to announce its roster for the 2006 Olympics on Wednesday, following are my selections:


  • Todd Bertuzzi (32 GP, 11-18-29, even rating): My bias says Todd deserves to be on the team. His recent play backs it up.
  • Sidney Crosby (33 GP, 14-19-33, -9): Of the 3 kids (Spezza and Staal are the others), I'd rank Sid the Kid at no. 3 and put him on the taxi squad. That said, Wayne loves him and Wayne's good friend Mario is openly lobbying for Sid's inclusion.
  • Shane Doan (33 GP, 6-14-20, -8): Not off to a great start statistically but Team Canada can benefit from his versatility - he can play all three forward positions - and strong two-way game.
  • Kris Draper (33 GP, 1-5-6, -5): Team Canada needs someone who can provide some grit and energy. Draper has proven he can provide both in international competitions.
  • Simon Gagne (27 GP, 23-14-37, +17): Seems to save his best games for international competitions. His line with Sakic and Iginla was arguably Team Canada's most valuable in the 2002 Olympics. He is, however, injured and some reports say that the injury is more serious than the Flyers are reporting.
  • Dany Heatley (30 GP, 21-25-46, +25): A fresh start with the Senators has greatly benefited Heatley. His 46 points ties him for fifth in NHL scoring with linemate Jason Spezza; his +25 rating leads the league.
  • Jarome Iginla (32 GP, 13-14-27, +9): Simply one of the best power forwards in the league. After Sakic, I'd tab Jarome as Team Canada's future captain.
  • Vincent Lecavalier (33 GP, 14-20-34, +5): Has had a relatively-quiet start to the season, but has started to pick it up over the last three weeks.
  • Rick Nash (4 GP, 1-0-1, even): One of the best pure goal scorers in the NHL and one of Team Canada's heroes in the 2004 World Cup. He has, however, been injured for all but four games this season.
  • Brad Richards (33 GP, 11-25-36, +6): Like Lecavalier, has had a quiet start to the season, but is still averaging a point a game and is the reigning Conn Smythe winner as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
  • Joe Sakic (33 GP, 14-21-35, -1): With Lemieux and Yzerman withdrawing from the team, Burnaby Joe should captain this version of Team Canada.
  • Ryan Smyth (27 GP, 14-10-24, -2): There is no reason Captain Canada wouldn't be on this team. He has loads of Team Canada experience and is leading a young Oilers team.
  • Jason Spezza (29 GP, 12-34-46, +20): Most deserving of the three kids to be picked on the team. In 29 games this season, he has 46 points and a +20 rating. It helps that he has great chemistry with Dany Heatley and is a right-handed shot.
  • Eric Staal (32 GP, 22-22-44, +3): Tough call between Staal and Sidney. If it was up to me, Staal would make it before Sidney - all he's done is carried the Carolina Hurricanes to first place in their division.
  • Joe Thornton (30 GP, 12-36-48, +2): Since his trade to the Sharks, the team has won six of seven games and Joe has recorded 15 points.

  • Scott Niedermayer (34 GP, 4-19-23, +6): A proven winner and leader at every level.
  • Rob Blake (33 GP, 6-15-21, -14): Has a horrible plus/minus rating but still brings valuable experience and leadership.
  • Chris Pronger (32 GP, 2-15-17, +6): Hasn't been great but has played solid for the Oilers. Like Blake, can provide valuable experience in the back end.
  • Wade Redden (20 GP, 5-19-24, +19): Despite missing 10 games, still sits tied for sixth in defensemen scoring with 24 points. He also has a whopping +19 rating.
  • Robyn Regehr (18 GP, 2-5-7, +6): Tough, mobile and positionally-sound.
  • Ed Jovanovski (32 GP, 5-17-22, -5): High-risk, high-reward player. Pairing with stay-at-home Regehr should quell some concerns.
  • Adam Foote (26 GP, 4-2-6, -12): Makes this team purely on experience.
  • Dion Phaneuf (32 GP, 7-9-16, +2): A taxi-squad pick. He'll be a big part of future Team Canadas.

  • Martin Brodeur (25 GP, 12-10-3, 3.01 GAA, .895 SV%): After backstopping Team Canada in the 2002 Olympics and the 2004 World Cup, it's his starting spot to lose.
  • Roberto Luongo (32 GP, 12-15-4, 3.17 GAA, .913 GAA): If he was playing anywhere else but Florida (and maybe Columbus), there wouldn't be any discussion about whether or not he deserves to be on this team. Is once again leading the NHL in saves.
  • Curtis Joseph (24 GP, 14-9-0, 2.31 GAA, .923 SV%): Has played well enough to deserve to be on this team. Veteran of previous Team Canadas may also be more willing to take a press box seat.
Taxi Squad: Eric Staal, Sidney Crosby and Dion Phaneuf

My Notable Omissions
  • Martin St. Louis (31 GP, 12-14-26, +3): Should be excelling in a more wide-open NHL but has been very average.
  • Alex Tanguay (33 GP, 11-25-36, +1): Would probably make the team if Staal hadn't played as well as he has.
  • Brendan Shanahan (34 GP, 19-17-36, +2): Tough omission as he has proven valuable to previous Team Canadas. Proven this season that he can still play and can provide veteran leadership. He may make the team but only at the expense of one of the youngsters.
  • Paul Kariya (30 GP, 10-17-27, -8): Having a bit of a bounce back season but not enough to supplant the likes of Heatley, Bertuzzi and Nash.
  • Patrick Marleau (31 GP, 13-26-39, -3): Has been one of the more consistent Sharks this season. Unfortunately this team is already deep at the center position.
  • Bryan McCabe (32 GP, 11-29-40, -3): It's either him or Foote for the last spot on defense.
  • Jay Bouwmeester (35 GP, 0-12-12, -8): Would have been another taxi squad pick. Difference is, Phaneuf has been able to stand out, even on a very good Calgary team.
  • Marty Turco (26 GP, 18-7-1, 2 SO, 2.52 GAA, .902 SV%): Hard to leave out the league leader in wins, but Turco hasn't proven anything outside the regular season.
  • Jose Theodore (26 GP, 13-7-5, 3.06 GAA, .889 SV%): Hasn't put up great numbers this season.
posted by J.J. Guerrero, 6:46 AM


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